11 October 2018

Rwanda: Police Cautions Public Ahead of Predicted Stormy Rains

Following predictions of heavy rains mixed with violent winds which could lead to floods and landslides in some parts of the country, Rwanda National Police has called for vigilance and tipped the public on some preventive measures.

Heavy rains mixed with violent winds which could lead to floods and landslides are expected in some parts of the country, according to latest forecasts by Rwanda Meteorology Agency (RMA).

The agency said that between October 9 and 13 there would be bad weather particularly in districts prone to disasters, namely Musanze, Gicumbi, Gakenke and Burera in Northern Province, Nyabihu, Rubavu, Rusizi and Nyamasheke in Western Province, as well as Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru in Southern Province.

On May 8, 2016, Gakenke suffered the deadliest consequences of severe weather conditions in the country in recent years when landslides and floods induced by heavy rains killed 34 people and left hundreds of families homeless.

The rains are estimated to be between 20 and 30 millimetres (mm) per day.

10mm of rain per square metre (of an area) is equivalent to 10 litres per square metre, which means 30mm correspond to much more water than that on the same space, according to experts.

During a tweet-chat, Police urged the general public to exercise preventive measures against any form of accident that may result from the downpour.

"The expected heavy rainfall may result to trees falling by or in the roads, floods or landslides. We therefore appeal to drivers to be more conscious and drive carefully to avoid accidents that might result from heavy downpour," Police states

Police also called on pedestrians to also exercise caution and not to attempt crossing any sections of the road that are overtopped by floodwaters.

"In any case you experience or witness any incident like uprooted trees, lightning strike or road accidents, hurriedly inform us for quick intervention along with our partners.

The odds of being struck by lightning while on the road during heavy rain are incalculable but the best preventive means is to not take chances if you can, park your car in a designated parking that is well covered and keep all windows closed," Police added.

From January to June 2018, disasters induced by heavy rains (including floods, landslide and lightning ) across the country killed 222 people, destroyed 14,491 houses and 8,978 hectares of crops, 49 bridges, and claimed 754 livestock, according to statistics from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR).

Overall, about 44,000 households in high risk zones identified by the Rwanda Housing Authority were to be relocated but the number has gone higher as a result of the recent disaster cases countrywide.

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